Tuesday 11 February 2014

Writing Prompts: He hadn’t seen her since the day they left High School

This month's writing prompt comes from Writing Prompts 101. It's the second writing prompt example on that page.

I thought it sounded like a really cool concept, and as soon as I read it, my imagination started running wild. So, I just started typing, and didn't stop!

Here goes:

John was running a grimy cloth over the empty bar. It was 12:30, and the afternoon was starting out pretty slow. The bar should be filling up pretty good by now, but other than a young couple sitting at a table in the corner, it wasn't happening. He wondered where everyone was.

It was so quiet in the place that you could hear a pin drop. Or the door opening. John looked up at the entrance excitedly, pleased at the prospect of a customer. Nothing could've prepared him for who he saw. At first, he didn't recognise her, but after a few seconds, it dawned on him. It was Cathy. She'd changed quite a bit in the ten years since he'd last seen her. She was a lot heavier now, and her eyes had a depressed look to them, but there was no mistaking that face. He wondered if she would know who he was.

Cathy shuffled up to the bar, and plonked herself on a stool. As John approached, she barked her order at him without looking up.

"Whiskey. Neat."

"Cathy?" asked John, "Don't you remember me?"

Cathy looked up from the bar with bleary eyes. She lazily inspected John's face, then responded, "Look, mate. I don't know who you are, and I don't care. Just give me my drink, okay? I'm not in the mood."

John signed and poured her a shot of whiskey. Maybe she honestly didn't remember him, but maybe she didn't want to admit that she did. She seemed to be in a bad way, after all, and maybe she was embarrassed or something.

Cathy downed her whiskey in one gulp, slapped the glass down on the bar, and barked, "Another."

John calmly re-filled her glass, and asked. "You sure you should be drinking so much? Don't you have a job to get to when lunch-hour ends?"

"Not any more," replied Cathy before slamming back her second shot. "My stupid boss just fired me. So who did you say you were again? How do you know my name?"

"We were in Matric together," replied John. "Do you really not remember? I was one of the kids always making trouble in the back of maths class. We used to tease you for being such a nerd." Then he added, "I'm... sorry about that."

Cathy studied John's face for a moment, the recognition finally appeared in her eyes. "Yeah well," she said, "I didn't much like you in school, and I haven't spoken to you in ten years. I'm not much in the mood for talking, so just give me another whiskey, will you?"

What do you think? Is this a concept that you'd like me to explore further, and maybe build a complete story around it? I'd love to hear from you if it is!

In the meantime, if you enjoy my writing, you can check out my other books, and maybe buy one, at my My Books page.

By the way, the image came from Ewan Munro's Flickr page. You can find the original here.

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